Saturday, July 22, 2006

Top 10 Travel Destinations

I'm sitting here, watching the Travel channel. I love this channel, except that they seem to show more poker "tours" than travel shows...what's up with that? What fascinates me when I travel is not only how many differences there are in how Man adapts to his environment but also how similar we all are, regardless of those differences.

The show on right now is the Ten Creepiest Destinations. I have no interest in seeing most of these places (although I'm ashamed to admit that I meant to but did not make it to the Mutter Museum, #6 on the list, while I was in Philadelphia...I had it on good authority that this was the place to visit while in I see that I missed a lot! For example, I missed seeing a real human colon the size of an anaconda snake (excised from its original owner, of course). I think I need a vacation. Without further ado, here are the...

Top Ten Places I would like to visit before I die (places I've never been):

1) Denali National Park, Alaska (this is mostly just so I can color in all of the states on that map of states I have visited...Alaska is the only one I'm missing)

2) New Zealand (I want to rent an RV and spend 2 or 3 weeks seeing the entire country. And now that I have Rachel's contact information, perhaps I can solicit her travel advice).

3) Scotland (I don't golf, but I would definitely sign up to "play" 9 holes on the world's original golf course, if they would let me)

4) The Greek Islands (I love the old world whitewash architecture and the food, and I'd like to see some of the remnants of Ancient Greece, the foundational culture of Western civilization)

5) Italy (I've been to Trieste, but would love to visit Venice, Rome, Florence and Tuscany; I'd like to rent a Vespa and drive fast on the sidewalks and I would not stand in line to visit all the "things you must see" in all of these cities)

6) Australia (although after reading In A Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson, I think I must be nuts to even consider visiting Australia, home of the most poisonous things in the world)

7) Prague (I'd just like to sit in the coffee shops and read and watch people, for a full week)

8) South Pacific (Fiji, Christmas Island, Bora Bora, or some lesser known islands; I'd like to do this by sailboat and experience it at the slow pace of the natives)

9) Bali (I have always loved the folk art from this country, especially their batik work and wood carvings)

10) Jerusalem (for all that it is and all that it represents, if only the region were stable enough to even begin to think about visiting...the way things look right now, I'm even more envious of my cousin Mike's recent travels through the region without incident)

10A) In lieu of Jersalem, I would pick Egypt (although I'm no Egyptologist, I would love to see the pyramids, etc.)

Top 10 Places to Re-Visit (places that are worth repeating):

1) Ireland (My Dad and I bicycled the Ring of Kerry and loved it, but I have never been to Dublin which is still on the wish list; the people of Ireland are among the most welcoming and gregarious people I've ever met)

2) Dubrovnik, and the entire Adriatic Coast of Croatia (this medieval world still feels very real, not hasn't been overrun with tourists yet and it's absolutely gorgeous! The link is to a small album of photos we took on our last trip there)

3) Big Sur, California (I return here at least once a's one of the best places in America, imho, and I never tire of it)

4) Hawaii (I've only been to Kuaui and would love to return to that island, but would also visit the Big Island and maybe a bit of Maui if it's not all golf and spa resorts...I'm not into that sort of fact, this is what kept me from visiting Hawaii for so long, but it is truly beautiful and I would definitely go back)

5) Olympic National Park, WA (Cape Alava to be exact...miles of pristine camping on the beach and miles from have to pack in your own food and hide it from the raccoons, but aside from this, it's an easy hike and well worth it!)

6) Vancouver Island, Canada (especially the western shore and a small Indian fishing village called Tofino that has also become an eco-tourist destination...again, pristine coastline and campgrounds on the beach, along with kayak and bicycle rentals with which to see more of it)

7) La Digue, one of the Seychelle Islands out in the middle of the Indian Ocean (where there are no cars, only ox carts, and the people live off of the fish they catch and the very large fruit that falls from the trees; I would take up scuba diving if I returned to this diving haven)

8) Stone Town in Zanzibar, Africa (I'd like to go back when it's not 100+ degrees and nearly 100% humidity, having to wear a wet wash cloth on my head to prevent heat stroke; I'd like to spend more time with the people of Africa; most of our time was spent scouting out animals on the safari north and west of Zanzibar)

9) Rocky Mountains, Colorado...skiing Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Dillon, Breckenridge

10) Anyplace that old friends live

What are your favorite places?



At 3:55 AM, July 23, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Can't wait to have you come and visit and see our fair country. I am already thinking of places I would direct you to like to see eg.Tane Mahuta (It's one of the worlds tallest trees and it's NZ's oldest tree).

I have an equivalent for your Alaska over here - Always wanted to see Christchurch!

At 3:24 PM, July 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm jealous, you have been places i would love to go. i agree with nearly all of your top ten destinations,
mine are alaska, australia, and back to hawaii, the big island. i've been to hawaii 3 times, and i love it over there, but only in the winter.

i've been to maui, and you can do things away from those resorts, if you just travel the highways. thats what i have done there, drove all the roads, and just looked at things, kauai was sort of a disappointment to me, because apparently there was a storm that destroyed a lot of the island, or damaged it, and they have spent a long time trying to restore things. but i just remember a lot of red mud/dirt, and a lot of trash.

molokini, is also one where i want to visit. i like more out of the way places, i'm like you in that respect, rugged is better. and funner. i'm not a resort type of gal, surprise i know. i might seem high maintenance, but really i can rough it pretty good.

another thing i really want to do is go on a pack trip into a wilderness area. there is nothing more beautiful to me than a quiet forest, with the natural smells, and tree's everywhere. a friend of mine went on one of those cattle drives in nevada, and nearly killed herself! i don't think i would pay good money to do that.

so for now, i'm just dreaming, and making my list of bloggers to visit in each different place. i know 3 australians now to visit if i ever get down there.

lots of people in CA, and the mid west. maybe i'll pop up on your doorstop some day, now don't be scared, its just a thought. just to keep you on your toes!!

At 4:13 PM, July 23, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Rach, Christchurch would definitely be on our route, along with anything you told us to see, including big old trees (I almost put Sequoia National Park on my list, speaking of big old trees...if your trip to CA takes you any further north than Los Angeles, Sequoia is worth the drive). ;-)

Susie, I'm always on my toes. ;-) If you're interested in a relatively easy pack trip that has all the look and feel of a tough one (ancient rain forests, singing birds, lots of nature smells and a beautiful vistas), head over to Cape Alava. You're not too far from there, relatively speaking. :-)

I think they must have restored a lot of Kauai by the time we went (4 years ago), but hurricane Iniki did do a lot of damage and released a lot of poultry, so now they have a wild poultry problem. We went in July, so I will try to go in the winter next time. I don't fare well in the intense sun (even with SPF 50, I burned)! I'd like to see the smaller islands also. Like you, I like to drive around and look at things. Just no desire to spend time in Honolulu.

Heh, you won't find me spending my money (or time) working cattle on my vacation time either! What are people thinking?!

At 5:44 PM, July 24, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Your list just depressed me at first, since it highlighted how poorly traveled I am, at least in terms of making grand epic journeys to exotic destinations. Heck, we've never even been to Hawaii.

But then I thought about the wonderful dive trips we've made to the Caribbean, and the trips to ski, hike, or bike through various mountainous parts of the US, and I have to admit that I'm satisfied with our experiences. God's in the details of traveling (as He is with everything, but humor me), and memories can accrue to the most seemingly mundane things: the glint of sunrise light off a snowy bough, a shared bag of M&Ms under a piƱon pine, a stack of blueberry pancakes in an unremarkable diner. That's not to say that I wouldn't love to visit Ireland or New Zealand or Tibet or Bora Bora; I would. But I'm not sure the memories those trips would generate would be any more important to me than the ones I've already banked against a future that seems to be rushing toward me faster than ever.

At 9:50 PM, July 24, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

See, that's really the point (had I been trying to make one) enjoy where you are, to take it all in, to be able to put that little signon above the pinon and enjoy blueberry pancakes. ;-) But you already knew that. God is in the details. I love that about travel. There is something about the uncertainty of travel that makes my "spiritual center" more accessible. ;-)

At 10:29 PM, July 24, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

And for the record, I've never been to any part of the Carribean. So there. ;-)

At 10:58 PM, July 24, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

See? I can't even spell it. ;-)

At 9:55 AM, July 25, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

The only thing harder than spelling "Caribbean" properly is pronouncing it correctly. And I have no idea how to do the latter. ;-)


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